Who Are the Real Right-Wing Conservatives in Santa Monica?

October 21, 2022

Dear Editor,

As reported in the Lookout, the hotel workers union attacked Councilmember Lana Negrete and slow-growth candidate Armen Melkonians this month in a flier that attempts to tie the two registered Democrats to extremist Republicans ("Hotel Workers Union Steps Up Attacks," October 10, 2022).

The rhetoric has been taken up by the Santa Monica Democratic Club and two of the candidates the group -- along Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR) -- has endorsed, Jesse Zwick and Caroline Torosis.

Following the union's script, the Democratic Club’s rhetoric on emails to it’s members, social media posts, mailers and speeches has been divisive, false and offensive.

It creates an incendiary contrast that pits Democratic candidates of color against a white-led Democratic Club in Santa Monica. That’s NOT RACIAL JUSTICE!

Rather than focus on the issues affecting Santa Monicans, the group's candidates have chosen to focus their attention on disparaging Democrats of color by falsely claiming that City Council members Lana Negrete, Oscar de la Torre and Christine Parra are Republican conservatives.

By questioning their affiliation to the Democratic Party, the group and its candidates are deliberately marginalizing Democrats of color for their political positioning and not caring what impact it may have on our community.

In the latest mail piece, Torosis claims that we should vote for her because “Caroline is ONE OF US.” This coded language combined with her public statements against other Democrats of color does more to divide than unite.

Parra, de la Torre, Negrete and Melkonians are also Democrats but somehow they are not ONE OF US? This kind of rhetoric perpetuates the dehumanization and marginalization of people of color as the “OTHERS,” especially within the Democratic party. We don’t need that kind of leadership.

As a life-long Latina Democrat who has dedicated her life to social and economic justice I take offense to their reckless and harmful statements.

I know Councilman Oscar de la Torre well enough to know that he has a long record of taking on progressive causes like gentrification, renters rights and continues to lead in addressing environmental racism and defending the rights of youth of color.

The two Democratic Club candidates fall short in their record as “progressives” yet they feel emboldened to attack a Latino leader who has dedicated his life to public service.

The all-white slates backed by the union, Democratic Club and SMRR oppose minority voting rights, stay silent on historic racial injustices and campaign using falsehoods against real progressive Democrats of color.

Who is the real conservative?

Maria Loya
Santa Monica

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